Royal County Down
The Royal County Down Golf Club is a golf club in Northern Ireland, located in Newcastle, County Down. It opened 127 years ago 23 March 1889 and is one of the oldest golf clubs in Ireland. It has two 18-hole links courses, the Championship Course and the Annesley Links.
Royal County Down is located in one of the world’s most naturally beautiful links settings in the Murlough Nature Reserve. Against the magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne, the links stretches along the shores of Dundrum Bay, zigzagging back and forth to provide a different vista from virtually every hole.
The narrowest ribbons of fairways are surrounded by purple heather and golden gorse, so beautiful to look at but so punishing for any who may stray from the prescribed path. The ‘bearded’ bunkers are world famous and feature over hanging lips of marram, red fescue and heather. The greens are fast and many are domed, rejecting any shot lacking conviction. This is a true test of any player’s command of the traditional bump and run, the preferred way to play links.
The ninth hole is the most photographed holes in world golf. A 486 yard par 4, it is played from one side of a huge mound down to a fairway some 60ft below and 260 yards from the tee. From the bottom of the slope the second shot is played over two bunkers to a raised green. The finest of all links courses, it offers a stern challenge from the championship tees. The record is 66 set by Ireland’s first golfing superstar, Jimmy Burren, in 1939. From the Stableford tees it offers golfers of all standards the opportunity of playing a truly great course with dramatic panorama of the surrounding mountains and coastline.